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Understanding Science and Scientific Methods:
An Overview for Lawyers
SUMMARY -- 12 September 2005
Class on 29 August 2005 Covered Topics 1 and 2.a. on the Syllabus
Dioxin and Agent Orange
- Overview -- The Collision of Science and the Law --
- Differences between Science and the Law
- Epistemological questions: (Epistemology -- Part of Philosophy that
deals with the origin, nature, and limits of knowledge)
- What is scientific knowledge?
- How do you distinguish science from non-science? (Scientific Validity)
- When is scientific knowledge reliable?
- Should scientific knowledge have a special status?
- Basic Science of Dioxin --
- A man-made family of chlorinated chemicals
- They are fat-soluble
- Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin -- TCDD -- the most toxic and famous has a
biological half-life in humans ³ 7 years.
- Shown to be a very Potent Carcinogen and Teratogen in animal tests.
- TCDD works by latching onto the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR).
- Dose-Response Function not known with certainty
- Chloracne and an increased risk of cancer
are the best documented toxic effects.
- Yushchenko -- 100,000 picograms TCDD per gram of blood fat. RECORD -- 144,000
pg TCDD/g blood fat
- The Use of Agent Orange in Vietnam